Directed by: #LeonLopez
Written by: #JamesMcDermott
Where’s Steve? is a short film highlighting some of the challenges families and primary carers encounter when providing support to people with dementia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eric, who has early-onset dementia, arrives home from hospital after overcoming COVID-19 to discover his partner is still in hospital, uncertain of his future. Due to the lockdown restrictions, Eric is unable to visit his partner and relies on Benny, his carer to help him through his confusion.
The film begins with a close up of Eric’s face. It’s quickly revealed during a few establishing shots that he’s alone and waiting for someone to return. A few moments later, a car pulls up but it’s not who Eric hopes it’ll be — instead it’s his carer, Benny. After showing him a photograph of his partner, Steve, Benny must break the news once again that he won’t be home for a while because he’s still in the hospital. We see Eric come to terms with Steve’s absence over the duration of this film, he grapples with his mind, trying to remember everything, but it’s a hard fight.
Filmed during the Coronavirus pandemic, Where’s Steve? captures the mental strain that human separation can have on an individual. I’m certain everyone is struggling a huge amount during these dark times, but it’s often people like Eric that fail to cross most people’s minds. This film shines a light on the situation. Personally, as someone who is beginning to feel the affects of a restricted life, I can only imagine how difficult it is for people with dementia and the like. The pandemic caused a lockdown that has been dragging on for almost four months now, and although it seems like things are beginning to return to ‘normal,’ it’ll be a long time until we’re fully past it.
Though simple in it’s approach and structure, Where’s Steve? manages to pack a fairly impactful punch. Though I feel it could have been even more hard-hitting, it’s a film that required a speedy production and release in order to grab attention whilst we’re still living in the pandemic. A heartfelt, saddening watch, but an important one nonetheless. The cinematography by Saeed Farhat is subtle and colourful. During the final moments, he returns to those establishing shots from the start of the film, but now comfortably wrapping up the story. Terry George’s small-scale performance is practically perfect and in those final shots, he captures the free spirit of Eric.
I’m hoping that the lockdown can come to an end sooner rather than later, and that social distancing becomes a thing of the past. But until then, keep people like Eric in your mind. It may be a hard time for you, but I guarantee it’s even harder for someone else.